Monday, November 29, 2010

It cures what ails you.

A couple of Fridays ago, Jason gathered a few friends together to see an opening night showing of the latest Harry Potter movie. Being ever a joiner (and a desperate Harry Potter fan), I decided to go along, even though I'd had a terrible chest cold for days on end. Luckily, we also managed to schedule a stop at the 2nd Avenue Deli, home to the best matzoh ball soup on earth.

Nowhere else has consomme been this chicken-y, this delicious, or this good at curing a cold. And nowhere else do the bring you a shot glass-sized chocolate soda to finish off the meal. Even though the waitress laughed at me for ordering soup with a side of coleslaw, I didn't care. Nothing beats chicken soup and cabbage for getting through a cold.


Friday, November 26, 2010

I'm full.

We had a pretty awesome Thanksgiving dinner last night at my brother and sister-in-law's place. A classic group effort, the meal was prepared in four different kitchens and served in a score of different bowls.

Turkey, cranberry-walnut relish, brussels sprouts with chestnuts and bacon, two kinds of stuffing, polenta with mushrooms, mashed potatoes, two kinds of gravy, kale simmered in coconut milk, two kinds of pie...

Pretty insane. And, speaking of insane, I cannot recommend this Zak Pelaccio brussels sprouts recipe enough. You must, must make it, and soon. If you're a vegetarian, just substitute a quarter cup or so of canola oil for the bacon. You will not be sorry; it is one of the most delicious things I've ever tasted, and it took about fifteen minutes to make, start to finish.

Trust me.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's frying time!

Happy Thanksgiving, folks!

While my hands are occupied with pie and brussels sprouts, my mind is already thinking about the next holiday on the horizon - Hanukkah, which starts next week! And since it's my day for posting over at You + ME* Equals, you'll have to clickety on over there to see my recipes for potato and zucchini latkes with apple chutney and gremolata, respectively.

Enjoy the recipes, enjoy the holiday, and we'll talk soon!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It has begun.

Thanksgiving preparations, that is. Already today I've roasted chestnuts for tomorrow's brussels sprouts side, and I have a deep dish apple pie in the oven as I type. Next up? A replay of the bourbon pumpkin pie I made a couple of weeks ago, and a cocktail of some kind. And possibly a manicure.

But first I need to go buy a second pie plate!

Happy pre-Thanksgiving, kiddos!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Jupiter, Florida. November 6, 2010.

Some photos from my trip to Florida back at the beginning of the month. Coffee, pool...only thing missing? The giant Manhattans served at my grandmother's country club. Kudos, Nonie. Kudos.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ooh la la.

Last weekend, my friends Miya and Shiv came over for a leisurely Sunday lunch. We drank some wine, chatted quite a bit, and enjoyed one seriously delicious galette.

See, a couple of weeks ago, Food52 selected butternut squash as its weekly contest theme, and lorinarlock (hereafter known as "Genius") posted a recipe for a butternut squash galette with roasted garlic. I was intrigued, but obviously didn't want to keep the experiment to myself, so I invited Miya and Shiv over to taste the results with me.

So, let's talk galette. First of all, there's nothing in the world easier than a galette. As we've discussed in the past, a galette is basically a free-form tart baked right on a cookie sheet (or, in this case, on a piece of parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet). Like pies and tarts, galettes highlight their filling beautifully, which is one of the reasons I love them oh-so-much. They provide the perfect canvas for expressing the best of what's in season.

This galette is made even better by including a healthy amount of roast garlic and one of my favorite things - fresh ricotta. You roast the garlic alongside the squash, pop it out of its skin, and mash it into the ricotta. Then, you spread the ricotta over the bottom of the tart before you pile on the pre-roasted squash. Really.

So, now you know how easy it is, and how smart it is. The question left in your mind, probably, is, "how did it taste?" The answer is: amazeballs. This tart was so freaking good, I'm surprised the three of us didn't come to blows over the leftovers. Alongside a piquant green salad and a glass of Chardonnay, it made one of the best lunches of all time. Seriously.

Make this tart, and do it soon.

Butternut Squash Galette
Adapted from lorinarlock on Food52

For the crust:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal (or polenta)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
6 tbs. chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch bits
2 to 3 tbs. ice water

For the filling:
1 butternut squash
2 tbs. olive oil
11 cloves garlic, one chopped, the others whole and unpeeled
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme
1/2 cup fresh ricotta
2 tbs. grated parmesan

Place the flour, cornmeal and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse once or twice to combine, then add the butter. Pulse several times, until the mixture just begins to form pea-sized lumps. With the motor running, add the water little by little, until the dough just begins to come together.

Take the dough out of the food processor and dump it onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Form it into a ball and place the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, and up to 24 hours.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Peel the squash and cut in half at the neck (in other words, separate the neck of the squash from the rounded, bottom part). Slice each half in half again, lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Cut each fourth crosswise into 1/4-inch slices and place in a large bowl. Pour the olive oil evenly over the squash, followed by the chopped garlic, salt, pepper and thyme. Toss gently with your hands to make sure the squash is evenly coated in oil and seasonings.

Arrange the squash on the baking sheet. (It's okay to have overlap; the pieces don't need to be in one layer.) Scatter the remaining, intact garlic cloves around the sheet. Place the sheet in the oven and roast until the squash and garlic are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Once the squash is relatively cool, retrieve the pastry dough from the oven. Roll out the dough between two lightly floured sheets of plastic wrap until you have a 12-inch round. Transfer the dough to a second baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Set aside.

Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the cloves from the squash pan. In a medium bowl, mash it until you have a rough puree, then add the ricotta. Stir everything evenly together, then spread it evenly over the bottom the rolled-out pastry, leaving about a one-inch border on all sides. Mound the squash evenly over the cheese mixture, making sure to include the thyme and chopped garlic from the pan.

Sprinkle the parmesan evenly over the top of the squash. Starting from wherever you like, pull the edges of the galette up, forming the sides. Place the galette in the oven and bake until the crust is crisp and golden-brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.

The galette can be served warm or at room temperature, but make sure to cool it for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Queenie's Treasury

Happy weekend, folks! I know, I know - the weekend's almost over. I'm so sorry this post is late; I've been sick with a bad chest cold this week, and hadn't been keeping up with the internet's loveliness. However, I spent some time this morning cruising around, and I think I've found a few cool things to share, so let's get to it!

First up, a cozy camp wedding from the folks at Poppies & Posies (via OnceWed). I absolutely love the mix of tartan, faux bois and jewel tones. And the hot chocolate at each place setting? Genius! And, yes, it's a photo shoot styled as a wedding, but there are some seriously easy and seriously gorgeous Thanksgiving table setting ideas on display, too.

Next up, the incredibly wonderful, cozy and slightly chaotic apartment belonging to Kate & Andy Spade, which is currently featured on The Selby. The design magnate duo have built empires, but haven't neglected to create an equally impressive home. The colors, the textures...the fireplace. I practically ooze jealousy looking at it.

Online magazines are seriously taking off, and though I think the medium still has some maturing to do, I'm seriously excited by how they're helping to fill the gap created in my life by the shuttering of Gourmet and Domino. The latest is Matchbook, co-founded by the bloggers Katie Armour and Jane Lilly Warren. I love both of their blogs, so I'm anxiously awaiting the magazine's first issue, due out January 2011. (Sign up to receive updates over here.) Good luck, ladies!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Aw, shucks.

So, I don't know if you guys know Jessi Langsen, but you should. She's pretty awesome. Luckily, you can find her in several places out here on the interwebs - she has a Tumblr, a blog, and a Twitter feed. She is, in a word, joyful. Joyful about life, about food, about Chicago (her adopted hometown) - you name it.

So, why, you might be asking, do I have a picture of salami if I'm talking about Jessi? Well, friends, she very, very kindly sent me a little present the other day: two gorgeous links of Creminelli salami (The Americano and the Musica, both of which I am passionately in love with.).

The Americano is made with Berkshire pork and flavored with ginger and cinnamon - the perfect thing for fall. The Musica has a stronger flavor, likely thanks to what I've discovered is the secret ingredient: pork liver! Both are utterly luscious, with just the right balance of fat, meat, spice and salt. Seriously. I had to stop myself from eating both links whole.

I served myself a little breakfast feast of Jessi's gift, along with a dollop of maple butter and a dish of Dijon mustard (I favor Maille for its clean, wine-y flavor.). I spread a teeny bit of the butter and a smudge of the mustard on little slices of sourdough, then topped with individual slices of salami.

Pure, porky heaven. Thanks, Jessi!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Going pumpkin.

In my family, apple pie traditionally wins out over pumpkin. If we have to choose one kind of pie to eat at Thanksgiving, we're going to choose apple. That's just how we roll.

That said, I actually rather like pumpkin pie, especially when it's a bit light and custardy, and served with some whipped cream. (To be honest, I like everything better when it's served with whipped cream.) And, as you know, I have a special sweet spot for anything boozy, particularly if said booze is bourbon.

And since we have a big group at Thanksgiving this year, which means multiple pies, I decided it was time to finally try the recipe for bourbon pumpkin pie from the late Gourmet's very last issue. (Fitting, I think, that it went out on one of its stellar Thanksgiving showings.) I'm lucky enough to have a proving ground for my Thanksgiving pies: my office does an annual potluck lunch a couple weeks before the holiday, which means I get to try out my recipes on a wide and willing audience.

This year, the response was definitely positive: bourbon pumpkin pie FTW! Which, I have to tell you, made me pretty happy. Not only is the pie tasty, it's also supremely easy to make. Rolling out the crust is pretty much the most intensive task; other than that, all you really have to do is parbake it, mix up the filling, and bake everything together for one last round. Super, super simple.

My kind of pie, and yours too, unless you're some kind of crazy person who doesn't like easy, delicious pie. In which case, that's cool.

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie
Adapted from Gourmet

1/2 recipe Queenie's pie crust
15 ounces pure pumpkin
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1/3 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
3/4 cup plus 1 tbs. turbinado sugar, divided
3 1/2 tbs. bourbon
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. salt

Roll out dough between two lightly floured sheets of plastic wrap into a 12-inch round and fit gently into pie plate. Trim edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang under and lightly press against rim of pie plate, then crimp decoratively. Lightly prick bottom all over with a fork. Chill until firm, at least 30 minutes (or freeze 10 minutes).

Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.

Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights. (If you don't have pie weights, just use rice. Pour the rice back into a jar when you're done, and use again the next time you need pie weights. See? Now you have pie weights!)

Bake until the sides of the crust are set and edge is golden, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove weights and foil and bake shell until very lightly golden all over, 10 to 15 minutes more. Cool completely.

Whisk together remaining ingredients (leaving aside one cup of cream and one tablespoon of sugar) and pour into cooled shell.

Bake until edge of filling is set but center trembles slightly, about 45 minutes (filling will continue to set as it cools). Check on the pie occasionally, and if you notice the shell getting too dark for your liking (a strong possibility with a parbaked crust), cover the visible parts of the crust with a ring of aluminum foil, or with one of these. Cool the pie completely before serving.

The pie will keep overnight in the fridge; just make sure to cool it completely, then cover it with plastic wrap. Store on a level surface in the fridge. Make sure to bring the pie out early enough to return it to room temperature before serving; I'd give it at least 90 minutes.

Just before serving, whip the remaining cup of cream with the remaining tablespoon of sugar, just until it forms soft peaks. Serve the pie with generous dollops of the whipped cream.

Serves eight.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I went to the Union Square Greenmarket for the first time in more than a month on Saturday; I've been frequenting the smaller St. Stephen's Greenmarket up near my apartment, but I'd missed the diversity and selection of Union Square - especially the apples.

Nowhere is the change of season more evident than in the Greenmarket's evolving produce.

Late-season tomatoes are hanging on by a thread, but corn has completely vanished. Berries have been completely displaced by apples, and zucchini has been supplanted by acorn and butternut squash.

Carrots come in every color of the rainbow, and cauliflower abounds in similar variety, most excitingly the Escher-like romanesco.

And while I know I'll be totally sick of squash and tubers come March, I'm pretty excited about them right now.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Queenie's Treasury

It's the weekend, kiddos! Here in New York, we're celebrating that fact with unseasonably warm weather, sunny skies and, in my case at least, a trip to the Greenmarket. My friends Miya and Shiv are coming to lunch tomorrow, and I can't wait to share this and a tangy green salad with them. In the meantime, though, let's take a look at this week's Treasury!
I spotted these adorable spoons over at Frau Haselmayer last week, and I'm in lust. I love the mix of colors and textures, the rough, unglazed handles against the shiny, glazed bowls. And the pastels are (very, very) early harbingers of spring. The best Easter eggs ever.

Mia of Solid Frog featured a seriously cool apartment last week. It's a studio apartment, and it belongs to Mia's friend's brother, Henrik. I love the mix of colors, especially that striped dresser and the yellow couch. And all those books! And the MoccaMaster coffeemaker - in orange! Is it wrong to crush on a guy just because his apartment is stupendous?

Finally, one of the most ah-mazing houses I have ever. Seen. Ever. Really. I mean, check this out. The windows. The view. The mix of earthy, glam and sleek in the design and decor. The property. The whole thing is just...amazeballs. There's no less trendy word for it. Want. (Via

Friday, November 12, 2010


It started out so innocently. I spied a recipe that included chicken, which I already had, and broccoli, which I love. Not to mention milk, which I needed anyway, for a pie. And, of course, parmesan cheese. Which is tasty.

But only when I started making Saveur's recipe for the incredibly old-school casserole chicken Divan did I realize what I'd gotten myself into. This is a recipe that calls for - I kid you not - butter, whole milk, cream, cheese and flour. Yeah. I know. Not my usual weekly lunch fare. But, you know, sometimes it's okay to fold whipped cream into your cheese sauce and pour it over chicken and vegetables and then bake it.


The good news is that the resulting dish is tasty, and not just in a happily retro kind of way. It's rich, yes, but there's just enough sauce - not too much - to coat the peppery broccoli and tender chicken, and the nutmeg makes things nice and wintry. I used a healthy amount of salt and skipped the almonds, since I'm not a big fan, and I'm convinced it's just as good as it would be with nuts. (Though I do think walnuts or pine nuts would be worthy substitutes.)

In short, I highly recommend indulging yourself with a little cheese sauce casserole sometime soon. If nothing else, you'll get to tell people you had whipped cream for dinner.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's You + ME* day!

People! I'm posting over at You + Me* Equals today! The recipe is pretty damn awesome, if I do say so myself (And I do. Oh, I do.). So clickety over to the post to check out my recipe for a winter-friendly tomato salad, and check back here tomorrow for some seriously retro goodness.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gearing up.

It's November, which means the holidays and - more importantly - the baking of many, many pies are upon us. I can almost taste the buttery, flaky goodness right now.

I make at least two pies at Thanksgiving: one for my office's potluck lunch (which is today) and one for Thanksgiving dinner. This year, it's looking more like at least three pies, since we'll have a crowd at dinner. (Yay!) At times like these, I'm reminded of how nifty it is to have an easy pie crust recipe in my back pocket.

My recipe is super-simple, and can easily convert from a pâte sucrée (a sweet crust) to a pâte brisée (a savory crust) by simply removing the sugar from the mix. I use it for everything from galettes to quiches to tarts to old-fashioned deep dish apple pie. It takes about five minutes to blend together, but you must (must) allow time for it to rest in the fridge before rolling it out; this gives the gluten you've activated in the blending a chance to relax, and will ensure a flaky crust in place of a tough, chewy one.

As for rolling this sucker out, I've recently become enamored of Food52's ingenious technique: place the dough between two floured sheets of plastic wrap and go to town. This method makes turning the crust for even rolling simple as can be, and also helps ensure a smooth transfer to the pie plate. Amazing, right? Right. You can see it in action in this video!

Queenie's Pie Crust (Pâte Sucrée or Pâte Brisée)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbs. granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, very cold and cut into 1/2 inch dice
5-8 tbs. ice water

Place the flour, salt and sugar (omit the sugar for a savory, pâte brisée crust) in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Add the butter and pulse several times, until the mixture turns mealy and the butter is mostly in pea-sized chunks.

With the processor running, add the water a tablespoon at a time, until the dough just begins to come together into a coherent mass. (There will still be a smattering of mealy crumbs. That's okay.)

Dump the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a ball. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, and up to 24 hours, before using. If you've left the dough in the fridge for more than an hour or two, you should bring it out and set it on the counter for 30 minutes or so before rolling it out.

Makes two nine-inch crusts.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Can you feel it?

It's that time of year - the air is getting nippy, and fall is creeping steadily (and seemingly ever more quickly) toward winter. And what does winter mean? That's right - holidays!

I'm an avid lover of the holiday season, as are my friends Miya and Elisabeth over at You + ME*. Even better than our shared love of Chrismukkah? You + ME*'s brand-spanking-new blog devoted exclusively to making your holiday season a truly fabulous one. Between their gift exchange, sparkly blog design and gorgeous suggestions for your holiday cards, you'll have a most fabulous time getting geared up for 2010's last gasp.

Monday, November 8, 2010


After two days in sunny - but cold - south Florida, I'm craving noodles. Hot, soothing, slippery, brothy noodles. Herewith, a sampling of the best. Where do you get your noodle fix?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Queenie's Treasury

Many apologies for the lateness of this Treasury post, my dears. I've been in Florida for the past two days, visiting with my family and celebrating my grandmother's 90th birthday! I haven't forgotten about you, though, and I have some lovely bits and pieces to share. So let's get to it, shall we?

First up, something you may have seen pinging around the blogosphere recently: the funny, pretty, smart new collection of graphics depicting the differences between two of my very favorite places. It's called Paris vs. New York, and it is awesome. Bagel/baguette, Carrie/Amelie...the contrasts go on from there. Add this one to your RSS feed for a guaranteed smile every single day.

Next up, some more graphic design wonder. Daily Drop Cap is a fantastic series of gorgeously designed capital letters - just perfect for kicking off a blog post - from the typographer Jessica Hische. Jessica stopped posting caps for a while, which made me sad, but she is now back on the job, which makes me happy. Her latest "S," which appears as a snaking spiral of cigarette smoke, is pretty amazeballs.

Last, a little something for the wishlist: black geode drop earrings designed by Margaret Elizabeth. I think these would be the perfect go-to earring for the winter. A little sparkly, but not too, and a little dramatic, but not too. I love these in ways inappropriate and lustful, and I'm not sure how long I can hold out and keep myself from buying them. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mmm-mmm good.

The other night, I met the lovely Jason for a few cocktails at the similarly lovely Flatiron Lounge. Part of the early round of the cocktail craze, Flatiron Lounge opened in 2003 with an ambitious menu of classic and innovative cocktails. Though they do feature a few aquavit and vodka cocktails, Flatiron is heavy on the bourbon, rye, gin and even tequila.

Jason and I zeroed in on bourbon and gin, natch. My first drink was the Bramble, a mix of gin, lemon juice and creme de mure, which is a blackberry liqueur. It's served over crushed ice and garnished with a blackberry, and is, in a word, too-licious. It's a bit sweeter than I normally lean, but it's complex and tasty, too, so the sweet is just fine.

My second drink? A classic, perfectly balanced bourbon Manhattan. I like my Manhattans the feature the traditional 2-to-1 ratio of bourbon to vermouth, and our bartender clearly agreed. A dash of bitters takes the cocktail from yummy to to-die-for, and is, frankly, an absolute must.

Jason enjoyed two cocktails - the first was a gin cocktail flavored through and through with orange: orange bitters, orange peel. It was divine, and, for the life of me, I can't remember the name. His second drink was a Last Word, another classic, this time made with gin, lime juice, chartreuse and maraschino. It's delightfully tart and just a little bitter - everything a good cocktail should be.

Flatiron Lounge
37 West 19th Street (Between 5th and 6th Avenues)
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